Former head of SNC-Lavalin arrested by UPAC over MUHC contract
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 12:29PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 8:46PM EST
MONTREAL— The former president of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, Pierre Duhaime, was arrested at his home Wednesday morning by investigators from the Surete du Quebec’s permanent anti-corruption unit.
Duhaime will face three charges, including fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and forgery. UPAC would not confirm the exact dossier but a source told CTV Montreal that it is in connection with the awarding of the McGill super hospital project.
Duhaime was detained most of the day and was released Wednesday evening around 7:30 p.m. after posting bail.
Police are providing very few details on the arrest.
Duhaime left SNC-Lavalin in March, receiving a $5-million golden handshake in what appeared to be his retirement.
It was later revealed that there were allegations that Duhaime approved $56 million in payments in order to secure contracts, and now that money is now missing.
Riadh Ben Aissa, another former executive at SNC was arrested in Switzerland in April. He faces allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering. Ben Aissa made $56 million in payments to win contracts in North Africa, the same payments that were allegedly authorized by Duhaime.
In September 2011, Duhaime publicly opposed an inquiry into allegations of rampant construction corruption in Quebec. Only weeks before the striking of the Charbonneau Commission, Duhaime said there was no proof to substantiate a public probe.
MUHC director of foreign affairs Richard Fahey responded to the allegations Wednesday.
“We're deeply troubled by the statements that are made in the warrant for arrest of Mr. Duhaime, especially that the MUHC was defrauded. Given that we administer public funds for health care, it is concerning for us. Obviously we're continuing to collaborate with authorities in the matter,” said Fahey.
SNC-Lavalin also issued a statement today, saying it is collaborating with police in the investigation.
It also said the company remains committed to maintaining ethical standards of business.
Shares in SNC‑Lavalin were down 2.25 per cent Wednesday.
SNC-Lavalin's former CEO Pierre Duhaime was greeted by reporters after posting bail in November 2012
FILE - Pierre Duhaime, president and CEO of SNC Lavalin, waits to address the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 6, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)